People often seek some sort of hobby or purposeful occupation, and while some do wood carving and others go bird watching, George Bryan’s hobby may come as a surprise.
“I pick up trash,” Bryan said. “That’s it.”
For at least five years, Bryan has been getting on his mower to ride around several blocks of his neighborhood to pick up trash using a grabber and deposits it into a blue bucket with “Do It Right” written on the side.
It usually takes him about an hour, and he often does this twice per week.
“I don’t like seeing trash,” Bryan said. “I don’t like the idea of it going into the water system.”
Bryan hopes for the entire earth to become a clean and beautiful paradise in the future, which he believes is promised in the Bible at Isaiah 65:17.
“If I believe that the earth is going to be turned into a paradise, what’s wrong with me trying to keep it that way now?”
Bryan, 72, has been a resident of McComb for most of his life, except for when he served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1960’s, which took him to Canada and the Philippines. He then served as a volunteer at a printery facility for the distribution of Bible-based publications in Brooklyn, N.Y., for about four years.
It was in Brooklyn that he met and married Regina Santarpia. After their wedding in 1977, they went to live in McComb, where they raised four children.
The neighbors on the corner started to pressure wash their porch shortly after he came back from his clean-up ride. It might have been a coincidence, but Bryan seems to be a positive influence in the neighborhood.
When asked if he would like to see other neighbors join him to help clean up the community, Bryan is only concerned with his own actions and is not comparing himself with anyone else.
“I’m not even thinking about what they will or won’t do,” he said. “Of course that would be nice, even if they did no more than just clean up around their circumstances.
“Mostly I’m just doing it because I want to do it. And if anything happens to my wife, and I wind up staying here, I’ll start cleaning Pearl River.”
As an added benefit of his efforts to clean up the neighborhood, Bryan does his best to recycle and to help out his fellow neighbors.
“I hate to see all of those aluminum cans go to waste,” Bryan says. “I’d like to get them and bring them over here for that that disabled fella. I said, ‘I hope you’re not offended by me putting these out for you,’ and he said, ‘Not at all, bring as many as you can,’ if you excuse the pun.”‘
With people causing more damage to the health of our planet now than at any time in history, it is commendable to see people like Bryan taking personal responsibility to help care for the environment at the local level.
“I’m just doing my part,” he said.